Just a day off, and Luongo is ready to go

Luongo.jpgA prize goaltender struggling with consistency is the worst nightmare
for hockey fans. Just as the Chicago Blackhawks.

Roberto Luongo
had appeared to get under control after a horrible return from the
Olympic break, but 13 allowed goals in four games — with three losses
— had the Vancouver Canucks looking for options on how to bring the
goaltender out of his funk. Turns out, all he needed was a game off. At
least that’s what he says, per
Ben Kuzma of The Province:

“I’ve been in the
league 10 years and I’ve been through this before. The
solution is not to take a week off. I’ve had two days and that’s more
than enough for me. I’ve always worked through things and I’m a
hard-working guy and I want to play. I don’t want to sit on the bench
and watch games — one is enough for me.”

was the first home game Luongo has sat on the bench for since January of
2008. He’ll be back between the pipes tomorrow against San Jose. I
doubt that just one game off is enough for Luongo to completely work
through the mechanical issues he’s fighting through, especially since
it’s likely those issues are caused by fatigue.

You’d have thought
that resting Luongo for two games, both against relatively beatable
opponents, would have been a smart choice considering the workload he’s
been under this season. But hey, AV wanted to have his ‘best lineup on
the ice’ against the Oilers, which didn’t really work out as planned.
Hindsight, and all that.

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    Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more

    WINNIPEG, MANITOBA - OCTOBER 22: Morris Lukowich #12 of the Winnipeg Jets alumni moves the puck in front Steve Staios #24 of the Edmonton Oilers alumni during the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic alumni hockey game on October 22, 2016 at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Jason Halstead /Getty Images)
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    The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.

    With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.

    • Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
    • The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
    • No doubt about it, the futures of both franchises will be on display, from Connor McDavid to Patrik Laine.
    • The league’s PR department tweeted out some silly facts: 425 lbs. of cheese curds “will top poutine” during the event and 2.5 kilometers (about 1.55 miles) of hot dogs and “smokies” will be consumed.

    (Imagines one enormous cheese dog.)

    Now that you have important food facts in mind, here are a few fun photos as promised.

    Should be a great time.

    Oh, and in case you missed it, here is a recap of Saturday’s wonderful alumni game:

    Coyotes consider Mike Smith (lower body) week-to-week

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    The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.

    While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.

    (Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)

    Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.

    As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.

    Report: Rangers expect Dan Girardi back on Sunday

    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13:  Dan Girardi #5 of the New York Rangers in action in Game One of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    The New York Rangers will have defenseman Dan Girardi back in the lineup against the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday, according to NHL.com’s Dan Rosen.

    If that holds true, Rosen reports that Girardi will replace Adam Clendening in the Rangers lineup.

    The Rangers are 3-2-0 to start the season without Girardi, including a nice 4-2 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday.

    For plenty of Rangers fans, this is great news, especially since New York could probably use some fresh legs on a back-to-back. He hasn’t played so far this season thanks to a groin injury.

    More than a few people wonder if the former All-Star is actually a hindrance to his team, however, so expect some jokes here and there.

    These two tweets from earlier this season do a decent job of summarizing the dichotomy:

    /Awkward laugh

    Panthers’ Harper made a childhood dream come true last night

    SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 22: Shane Harper #38 celebrates his third period goal with Gregg McKegg #41 of the Florida Panthers against the Colorado Avalanche at the BB&T Center on October 22, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers defeated the Avalanche 5-2. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

    “Who is Shane Harper?”

    Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.

    Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.

    You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:

    Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.

    So, who is Shane Harper?

    For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.

    His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.

    You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone:

    He was modest there, but acknowledged that even playing in the NHL was a dream come true, so scoring a goal must have been even better.